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    Govt, Anna supporters look to reach accord

    New Delhi: Anna Hazare's fast unto death against corruption has entered the fourth day on Friday, as the logjam between Hazare supporters and the government continues over who will head the panel to redraft the Jan Lokpal Bill.Activist Swami Agnivesh will meet Cabinet Minister Kapil Sibal at his residence on Friday to end the logjam.NAC chairperson Sonia Gandhi also appealed to Anna to give up his fast, but the 73-year-old activist is adamant that the government enact the Lokpal Bill at the earliest. "Sonia's appeal is only a verbal appeal. We should get something in writing and there should be a timeframe to this," Anna said.People from all walks of life across cities and towns have come out in support of Anna's crusade against corruption.Government began negotiations with Anna Hazare's supporters on Thursday but after two round of meetings, the talks hit a deadlock. The government agreed to form a joint committee to draft an effective Lokpal Bill but there was no consensus on who will head it and whether it should be notified.From Delhi to Jammu to Kolkata to Mumbai, an Anna wave has swept the nation and the government is trying hard to ride out the storm.So, Kapil Sibal opened the door of negotiations with Swami Agnivesh and Arvind Kejriwal – they talked and agreed on many issues but agreed to disagree on two key issues.Sibal met veteran social activist and Gandhian Anna Hazare's supporters - Swami Agnivesh and Arvind Kejriwal – twice on Thursday to resolve the contentious issues. But the two sides failed to come to consensus on the issues of a formal notification of a joint committee and who would be the chairperson the committee.Government agreed to a 50-50 representation in a joint committee but wanted it to be informal. While it was prepared to issue a letter to announce it, the Lokpal activists wanted a notificationBut the bigger hurdle is who is to head it. While government prefers Pranab Mukherjee or even a retired judge, the activists want Anna Hazare."The movement wants him to be a chairman. Anna Hazare wanted a retired Supreme Court judge to be the chairman. When we announced it to the civil society they wanted Hazare to become the chairman. Our movement will continue till the government agrees on our demands," said Kejriwal."We had two rounds of discussions. We have agreed on almost all issues but there is no agreement on two issues, that is issuing an official notification to form the committee and making Hazare the chairman of the committee," Sibal said."So we need more time and we will meet again tomorrow and see we can evolve a procedure with which we can move ahead," he added."The timeline issue is not a big issue. We also want the bill to be formed immediately. We have not agreed on Anna Hazare being the chairman. The civil society wants Anna Hazare to be the chairman. We will meet again tomorrow (Friday) morning. We have talked and addressed issues, only two outstanding issues have not been resolved," said Sibal.Government sources say that agreeing to a notification would set a bad precedent as governance could be held ransom to activist pressure and it may be difficult for some ministers to report to Hazare as head of the joint committee.There will be another round of meeting on Friday. What’s important for the government is to get Hazare to break his fast. The more he stays on fast, the more embarrassing it gets for the politicians."They don't know the meaning of democracy. People are sovereign and the ministers are servants. People have every right to question when their treasury is being looted,” said Anna Hazare.On day three of his hunger strike Anna Hazare rejected government's offer of an informal committee and vowed not to end his protest till the demands are met."I will fight till death," he said addressing hundreds of supporters gathered near Jantar Mantar after word spread that talks between government and anti-corruption activists were deadlocked.####